Updated: Dec 20, 2020
Phoebe Agar, who is now in the Year 13 at Rugby School, gives an insiders perspective on the ups and downs of changing schools for 6th form.
Although my first year at Rugby School was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, my first two terms reached far beyond any expectations I could have imagined before I started. Coming from an all-girls day school to a mixed boarding school, 2 hours from home, was a big adjustment but a challenge I was excited to tackle. Suddenly everything was unfamiliar, from the campus to your new bedroom, new teachers and getting to know a new peer group both within the house and externally.
The first week was one of excitement and curiosity, working out my way around the campus and how to get to lessons; learning who was in which year group; figuring out the ‘Rugby Lingo’ and the general dos and don’ts, often learnt the hard way! For example, always give the Levée (prefects) the right of way; never carry a pencil case around but keep pens in your blazer pocket; feel free to wear pyjamas under your floor length skirt and always belt the hymns out in chapel- especially the school song the Floreat!
The first few weeks were exhilarating! The co-ed environment was a refreshing change and it was stimulating to have the different dynamic that the boys added with their ‘Banta’.The pupils who had been there since Year 9 were very welcoming to the new sixth formers. They persuaded us to sign up for Societies ranging from Scottish Dancing to Translation Club, Jazz Band or extra Hockey. All my fears about settling in being difficult vanished with the warmth of the pupils and understanding of teachers.
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Being away from home with newfound independence, with no parents watching your every move was thrilling. Although there were a few late nights for essay deadlines, time management skills were quickly learnt. However, after the first exeat (3 weeks into term) I found the initial busyness and novelty had died down. With less interest in the ‘new girls’ and with solid friendships yet to form, I began to feel a bit out of my depth and lonely. The next three weeks were tough, with the first wave of homesickness as I missed my old friends and the sense of belonging. With hindsight, I realise that I had been naïve to think that the familiarity I had after seven years in my old school would be acquired within a matter of weeks at Rugby. I decided to take the pressure off myself, by remembering that it will not all go according to plan in the first half of term. It was more important to take each day as it comes and make the most of all the opportunities presented, especially as I only had 2 years to get the most out of Rugby.
So, I did just that. I began to enjoy my experience with the wealth of friends I began to make by saying ‘Yes!’ to everything. With time, friendships solidified and the campus became like a second home - my patience paid off, I felt settled and like I belonged and as my confidence grew I branched out and tried new things that took me way out of my comfort zone.
The time flew by and then lockdown was announced……. I was devastated to learn that my short time at Rugby was going to be reduced even further by having to learn remotely. However, I made the most of the extra opportunities and was rewarded with the role of Pastoral Levée going into my final year.
Moving for sixth form was the best decision I made and a crucial leap on the path of life. I have learnt so much about myself and will be forever grateful for the numerous opportunities Rugby has presented for me in such a nurturing and supporting environment.
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